Whereas engine valves help regulate air-fuel mixture in your car engine, engine valve seals, which are fitted on the valve stem, prevent oil from getting into the engine. Engine valve seals are made of high-quality rubber to minimise normal wear and tear resulting from movement of engine parts. Being able to tell when your engine valve seals are failing is critical to ensuring timely replacement of the seals so that costly engine repair issues can be avoided.
Here's a breakdown of some common symptoms indicating that you need to change your engine's valve seals:
Engine oil leaks. One of the most noticeable symptoms of bad valve seals is excessive engine oil consumption. When the oil light on your dash comes on, it is likely that you have low engine oil levels. You will need to immediately pull over, stop the vehicle and check your engine oil. This is crucial to ensuring you avoid potentially costly engine breakdown. Keep in mind that it is engine oil that lubricates and cools your engine. Low engine oil levels may result in premature wear and tear of moving components and also cause engine overheating. If leaks are responsible for the drastic decline in engine oil level, then it is likely that your engine valve seals are worn out and need to be replaced.
Excessive smoke coming from your car's exhaust tailpipe. It is perfectly normal for a little smoke to come from your car's exhaust tailpipe when you are starting the vehicle. But if the smoke continues coming from your exhaust tailpipe even after you're already on your way, this should warn you of failing valve seals. Consider having the seals checked by a qualified mechanic.
Cold engines. Winter weather is not the only cause of cold engine starts. Bad valve seals are another likely cause. Cold starts usually arise when a layer of oil residue forms inside the valve cover when the car engine is not running. The valve seals will contract during this period, creating small openings around them. When the car is started, the oil in the valve cover may get sucked into the openings in the seals, making it difficult to get the engine running.
Reduced engine power. Deteriorating valve seals will affect your car's engine compression, which in turn, impacts your vehicle engine power. This may result in car performance issues, especially when you're accelerating.
Keeping tabs on your car's engine performance is the best way to detect problems with your engine valve seals. So make sure to have your car checked by a certified car servicing mechanic if your notice any of the above-highlighted symptoms while on the road.